Just like Marin the Fox two years ago, Sathrovarr arrives early and is given to all players for free a full month before the rest of Descent of Dragons is available. Can it change the meta? Is it even playable? In this article, I’ll take a look at all the ways you might want to use Sathrovarr.
Lowering the Mana Cost of Cards Is the Key to Using Sathrovarr
Sathrovarr has an interesting and potentially powerful effect. Getting a copy of a minion into play, hand, and deck means that you can get many uses of that minion during the game. The main problem is Sathrovarr’s cost: at nine mana, it is difficult to combine Sathrovarr with anything else, and it is not a good plan to rely on something sticking on the board for a turn to be copied later. Especially the best targets to be copied are unlikely to survive long.
Therefore, you need to find a way to discount your minions to use them with Sathrovarr. You can use minions that become cheaper when a certain condition is met, or you can use various ways to make regular minions cheaper in order to fit them and Sathrovarr within 10 mana. There are surprisingly many such opportunities available in the current Standard card pool, although most of them are unlikely to be good enough to see play in actual competitive decks.
Sathrovarr Anywhere: Neutral Cards That Enable It
The current meta is unique, because Sathrovarr and the Doom in the Tomb Wild event cards are available together only for this brief moment. The main combo support card in the Wild event is Emperor Thaurissan, and it can do some sweet magic with Sathrovarr. You might think that a one-mana discount does not do much when you want to use something together with a nine-mana card, but this is a meta where Zephrys the Great is available. One tick from the Emperor on either Sathrovarr or Zephrys, and you can play both on the same turn, which will give you another Zephrys to your hand and yet another Zephrys into your deck. This should make Sathrovarr an interesting option for many Highlander decks, because it provides a clear value combo, and many such decks also include multiple powerful minions, so there is more potential for Sathrovarr, should any of those minions survive a turn.
There are also other neutral cards that can work with Sathrovarr, although not as reliably. Jepetto Joybuzz can draw either Sathrovarr or any target minion and enable them to played together for ten mana, but Jepetto does not always draw good minions for such use. Rabble Bouncer is one of many minions that can be played for free, so it could be used with Sathrovarr as well, but it does not seem powerful enough to be a viable target.
Sathrovarr Warlock: It Is a Demon, After All
Sathrovarr is a Demon, but it is still not a great fit for Warlock. The class just does not have a lot of Demon synergies going right now. A board swing with Jumbo Imps is not nearly impressive enough for the current meta.
The best fit for Sathrovarr in Warlock is Quest Warlock. Supreme Archaeology can provide you with some zero-cost cards, and then you can make copies of them with Sathrovarr. How about an army of Ragnaros the Firelords? However, there are currently no really good Quest Warlock decks, and the best-performing ones are combo decks based on Mecha'thun or Mogu Cultist. It is unlikely that the addition of Sathrovarr alone could make a more control-oriented Quest Warlock good. It might be a fun meme deck that wins some games: not completely unplayable, but not good either.
Sathrovarr Shaman: Shamans like Battlecry Effects
Probably not. While Shaman has some tools that can be used with Sathrovarr, especially Shudderwock repeating the Battlecry effect and Mogu Fleshshaper that can be played for free, the current Shaman decks are not very interested in a nine-mana card. If they succeed, they end the game far earlier.
Sathrovarr Rogue: One Million and One Ways to Activate
Rogue has many tools to activate Sathrovarr. You can Discover a target with Gurubashi Hypemon. You can turn any Deathrattle minion in your hand into a target with Anka, the Buried. You can Shadow of Death a minion and then play Sathrovarr after a new copy of it is summoned at the start of your turn. Just imagine using Shadow of Death on Ragnaros the Firelord (perhaps discounted by Emperor Thaurissan) and then getting so many copies of it everywhere. Perhaps you are a connoisseur of randomness and put your faith in Academic Espionage to give you some one-cost minions.
Seriously though, I don’t expect any of these to work. Rogue is a class where it is sometimes hard to stick to the effective instead of the over-complicated-but-oh-so-sweet-if-it-ever-happens. Spending twenty games to find one win with a nice Sathrovarr combo just isn’t worth it, when Tempo Rogue is one of the top-tier decks in the game.
Sathrovarr Priest: It Can Be Done, but Why
Priest has a bunch of ways to use Sathrovarr. Grave Horror is a fancy one: discount it down to zero, play one, copy it with Sathrovarr, and play a copy from your hand as well. Ten mana and two cards to generate a board of three 7/8 Taunt minions and one 5/5 minion. Thing is, Grave Horror is usually played in cycle-heavy Nomi decks, which might have a hard time fitting in a nine-mana Demon just for that one combo. It would still be a fun sight.
Alternatively, Priest can use Spirit of the Dead and Princess Talanji. Play a one-mana copy of a powerful minion and copy it with Sathrovarr. Even if the board gets cleared, you can summon the copy from your hand with Princess Talanji. Unfortunately, the required setup can make this unviable.
I’d rate the potential Priest combos as unviable for climbing, but possibly strong enough to win some games if you really want to play Sathrovarr in Priest.
Sathrovarr Mage: A Strong Maybe
Adding Sathrovarr to Highlander Mage is not an impossible idea. With Emperor Thaurissan, you could open access to multiple copies of Zephrys the Great, and there is always Luna's Pocket Galaxy. Any of the big minions can be copied if you draw them in the right order. How about a few extra copies of Siamat, for example?
The main issue is that Mage is already good in slow matchups, and needs help to survive aggression. Sathrovarr simply cannot help with that. Regardless, it is an alternative for Mage’s end game that deserves consideration.
Sathrovarr Highlander Mage could look something like this:
I simply could not resist the temptation to include Ragnaros the Firelord, because it is so sweet if you ever get to copy it with Sathrovarr. It might not make the final cut though.
Sathrovarr Paladin: Seeing Shirvallahs
Now we’re really getting somewhere. Play a free Shirvallah, the Tiger, copy it with Sathrovarr, and play another Shirvallah, the Tiger from hand, all the while you put one more copy into your deck. That’s just about a board clear, a huge board of your own, and 21 healing on top.
I am intrigued by the possibility to use Sathrovarr in Holy Wrath Paladin. If you can squeeze in Emperor Thaurissan too, you also enable the potential Zephrys the Great combo. While this may slow down the combo a little, it can also provide the deck with more flexibility and some crucial healing to survive to the combo turn.
This could actually be a thing, and it could look something like this:
Sathrovarr Druid: Quests and Lucentbarks
Wild event is still here, remember, and so is Kun the Forgotten King. Kun + Sathrovarr generates a board of two 7/7 minions and a 5/5 minion, another Kun in hand, and one more Kun in deck. That’s a lot of armor and mana too. Furthermore, as a Druid, you don’t even need Emperor Thaurissan to combo Sathrovarr with Zephrys the Great: a simple Innervate will do. Quest Druids need to seriously consider including Sathrovarr.
Sathrovarr seems to fit best into the Baleful Banker variant, because it allows you to play Kun the Forgotten King early for board presence and armor, while still retaining it for the infinite combo with Elise the Enlightened, where you play Kun, Elise, and Banker, and shuffle a new copy of Elise into the deck every turn. The deck could look something like this:
Druid has even more ways to use Sathrovarr, because Mulchmuncher could work with it, and Dreampetal Florist could bring eight-mana minions to within Sathrovarr’s copying range. You can’t spell eight without Ragnaros the Firelord, so that would be one fancy play, although one that is not great in the current board-flooding meta.
Finally, Sathrovarr is a perfect card for one long-forgotten Druid archetype: Lucentbark Druid. Resurrect your Lucentbark with Crystal Power and copy it with Sathrovarr. You can even tutor both Lucentbark and Sathrovarr with Juicy Psychmelon. Unfortunately, the archetype is not very strong right now, but if you really want to play it, Sathrovarr is the way.
Here’s one idea what the deck could look like, a combination of infinite Elise+Banker combo and Lucentbark list. I did not quite dare to go for a pure Lucentbark list, and this archetype obviously would need a lot of testing and work:
- 1Crystal Power2
- 1Untapped Potential1
- 2Crystal Merchant2
- 2Keeper Stalladris1
- 3Ferocious Howl2
- 3Wardruid Loti1
- 4Flobbidinous Floop1
- 4Juicy Psychmelon1
- 5Anubisath Defender2
- 5Elise the Enlightened1
- 5Oasis Surger2
- 6Hidden Oasis2
- 7Ancient of Lore1
- 10Kun the Forgotten King1
Probably Not Meta-Defining, but Perhaps Playable
To sum this all up, it does not look like Sathrovarr is a meta-defining card. However, there is a chance that it finds a place in multiple viable decks: Highlander Mage, Holy Wrath Paladin, and Quest Druid are all interested in the card. Perhaps there is even a way to make use of it in Control Warlock or Priest, although those seem less likely to succeed. The overall meta is unlikely to change, but Sathrovarr can provide some fresh experiences. Good luck and have fun using it!